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Secession and the Border Slave States.


September/October 1860

From The Missouri Democrat, Saturday, October 27, 1860.

Secession and the Border Slave States.

The plan of the Disunionist faction notoriously contemplates the sacrifice of the border slave States, more especially the sacrifice of slavery in these States.  It is evident in the event of civil war, the slave property of Missouri, for instance, would not be worth ten cents on the dollar.  In the panic which would ensue, the slaves of this State would be precipitated into the Southern market, where they would have to be given away rather than sold.  A communication in the Richmond Whig, to which an article, which we copy from the Louisville Journal, refers, shows this in a plain light.  There is no feature in the secession programme more repulsive than the attitude assumed towards the slave States north of the cotton region.  These States are to serve merely as the barrier behind which the disunion faction is to carry out its schemes in safety.  They are to have the honor of immolating themselves for the benefit of those with whom they have no interest in common.  They are to be made the theater of all the disturbances and commotions consequent on a state of civil war—all for the advantage of South Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama.  The most effective plan that could possibly be devised for the immediate abolition of slavery in Missouri, would be the secession of the cotton States—that is if we should either sympathize with them, or assume a position of armed neutrality towards the United States.  If the question is really Union or Disunion, Breckinridge should not get a single vote in this State.  We are lo[a]th to believe that the supporters of that candidate in the West are Disunionists, but at the same time we cannot fail to remark that they do not seem at all solicitous to disavow the charge.  Surely political fanaticism cannot run so high as to render the prospect of Missouri being dragged at the chariot wheels of the secessionists agreeable to her sons?  The post to be assigned the border slave States in the Disunion programme, was defined accurately enough in one of the Southern conventions by the master of ceremonies, the very same William L. Yancey who has achieved such notoriety of late.  The following from a recent paper in De Bow’s review, advocating secession, shows that the original order has not been departed from.

“If the separation be partial—that is to say, if a few States only secede—then those of the present Southern States which will remain in the Union will form a barrier to the access of abolition emissaries, and the border States will be friendly in feeling, and slaves be as secure in that respect as now.  If the whole South secede, then the withdrawal of slaves from the border counties of the border States, with military posts at the proper points, will give ample security against this kind of agression.”

Here it is.  The slave States that remain in the Union will form a barrier to protect those that may secede; and if all the slave States secede, the withdrawal of the slaves from the border counties, )which means all the counties within their limits,) ensues.  So the border slave States, in the event of disunion, have a choice of alternatives, either of which involves the abolition of slavery!  Much as we desire to see Missouri a free State, we are unwilling to expose her to the horrors of civil war, for the attainment of that end.  We hoped to see it reached, but not through war and insurrection, fire and blood.  An enlightened self interest, co-operating with other causes, now in force, will accomplish her redemption without loss or injury to a single citizen, or to any interest.  It would be neither wise nor humane to plunge her into revolution, with the view of burying slavery in the general ruin.  We had the temerity, more than once, to intimate to the Breckinridge party the imprudence of permitting themselves to be wholly identified with the politics and schemes of South Carolina and Alabama.  We venture to predict now, that the result of the vote, ten days hence, will teach the disunionists among them, that they have reckoned without their host.